ANNAPOLIS, MD–Assisted living facilities providing the country’s graying population with lifestyle alternatives seem to be popping up everywhere. Robert Wetzler, associate director of healthcare for Fitch Inc. says that while brokerage reports are available for publicly traded assisted living companies, financiers, do not have the same tools available to help make informed decisions about the assisted living sector as a whole. Now financiers can get a better idea of the industry’s potential with a newly released investment guide.

The National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industries and Fitch Inc. have released the Fitch/NIC Investment Analysis of Assisted Living Properties. The guide describes this asset class and highlights its unique investment considerations, including risks and returns, demand and supply, key underwriting factors, and attributes and cautions about investing in this sector.

According to Robert G. Kramer, executive director of NIC, financiers have a tendency either to lump seniors housing and care with healthcare or with other types of commercial real estate, when making performance assumptions or market generalizations. But the seniors housing and care has different demand and supply drivers than hospitals, physician practice groups, pharmaceuticals, HMOs and other traditional healthcare segments.

“These drivers are also different than those for apartments, office, retail and industrial properties,” says Kramer. “Our analysis describes these differences, and the successful investor will take note.” He added that providers might want to give copies to their potential bankers and investors to help them better understand the industry.

The Fitch/NIC Investment Analysis of Assisted Living Properties is the first in a series to focus on the distinct investment characteristics of the various seniors housing and care property types. The next one, available in early 2001, will analyze skilled nursing facilities. The publications are available through NIC or (410) 267-0504.

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